Visual statistics - the madness of consumerism

By Murray Bourne, 08 Mar 2008

In Running the Numbers - An American Self-Portrait, Chris Jordan has put together a brilliant set of images that...

... visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. The underlying desire is to emphasize the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.

My favourites are:

426,000 cell phones, equal to the number of cell phones retired in the US every day:

cell phones


Cell phones detail

Here's a forest of 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags, the number used in the US every hour:

paper bag forest


paper bag forest detail

There are some disturbing images in this clever collection.

Check out the rest of: Running the Numbers.

See the 3 Comments below.

3 Comments on “Visual statistics - the madness of consumerism”

  1. Andrea says:

    I found this art work to be very powerful. I am doing a college paper on consumerism and would like to use one of the pictures (images) from Running the Numbers to illustrate a point. Can someone please let me know who i would need to contact for permissionn.

    Thank You

  2. Murray says:

    Hi Andrea. Since you have no commercial intent, your use of the image constitutes "fair dealing" for academic (and educational) purposes. You don't need to seek permission, but you do need to give proper attribution. (Say where it is from, the date you accessed it, the name of the photographer.)

    This is contrary to what he states on this page: If you are worried about it, his email is on that page.

  3. Mrs Kamaraj says:

    It's amazing to learn of these statistical facts about Consumerism and I as an individual doing Research in Consumerism and am a responsible Social Service service Programme Officer who got the best Programme Officer in the State of Tamil Nadu, I will strive my best to educate and create awareness among students and public regarding such facts and will try to avoid such disaster and I am willing to do a major project on this subject if financial Aid will be given.

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